Pull Box: April 17

The end of “Knightmares” has finally come with the truth behind all of this finally coming to light. An innovation on Scarecrow’s fear toxin has driven Bruce into his own mind, to face his own fears, and only his greatest fear can save him: the truth about himself. Maybe Batman truly isn’t capable of that type of love. The type that drives a relationship forward, allowing two people to give themselves to one another completely. It’s horribly tragic, but maybe it’s true. On top of that, Thomas Wayne really is there, working with Bane and claiming himself the true Batman, but how did he even get there? Still more questions remain.

I’m not sure what it is, but the mysteries in this book have me eating out of the palm of their hands. Naomi’s past is so interesting, even though we know next to nothing. Now, we know that Dee and her Father are warring aliens who decided to just have normal lives on Earth, and we know that there is certainly something different about Naomi herself. The mysterious black box, and what almost looked like a White Lantern logo? It couldn’t have been, given the small differences, but it is certainly inspired by that.

And the award for best retcon of all time goes to Scott Snyder and Justice League. With an effortless flick of his pen, Snyder has merged the entire history of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the Anti-Monitor, as well as his motivations and history into the modern age. We now know the true history of Perpetua and her children, and the life they cursed themselves to in order to stop her machinations. That was storytelling at its most masterful.

As expected, even after being eaten by his own Frost Giant Father, Loki still cannot die. Even being digested, quite grotesquely, I might add, in the gullet of Laufey, he just subconsciously will not give up despite his pleas otherwise. Knowing that Loki is indirectly responsible for the creation of the horrible Malekith that started the War of the Realms was quite the revelation. Now, we get to see what Loki does with that information.

That was a jam-packed issue that was full of everything you could possibly ask for. Insane action, revelations and character development galore, and even more insane action. Jane Foster is the All-Mother of Asgard, as Freyja leaves for Jotunheim to find Thor, and Odin falls into the Odinsleep to heal his wounds before leaving for Svartalfehim to destroy the Black Bifrost. This is absolutely fantastic, and easily the best even Marvel has had in some time.

It’s interesting to see the front-row seat that Punisher of all people has taken in this massive war. The anti-hero with the fewest powers taking on these otherworldly creatures of unspeakable horror is impressive, and that’s most likely why that choice was made. With that being said, the usual amount of gore and blood was at play here, and it was jarring in all the right ways given how Thor books usually can be.

This is how you know Marvel is taking the War of the Realms seriously, with these small tie-in stories that show just how many heroes are actually involved in this event. The Daredevil story was obviously the stand-out here, and I’m actually excited to see how the Man Without Fear got a hold of the sword of Heimdall, giving him god-like powers. The Wolverine and Punisher story was also pretty fantastic, but one has to wonder where all of the Avengers are?

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Comic Books: April 3

The War of the Realms has finally begun! After years of build-up we’re finally here, and most of the major players are already either out of commission or busy destroying armies of Frost Giants on Jotunheim. A clever distraction while Malekith lays waste to Midgard, he’s confident his armies can tackle the many heroes on Earth, but that’s not exactly worked in the favor of many. It likely won’t work here, either. But it’s going to be damn fun to see him try.

The conclusion to the Blackstar arc seemed a little more rushed than I was expecting, but the so-called sacrifice of Hal Jordan that catapulted him, without a ring, to the edge of the universe was a nice touch. Now we can continue with Grant Morrison’s many strange creatures and worlds, which has been the highlight of this entire story up to this point.

Future Superman was really the World Forger all along, choosing to take a form that the Justice League could trust and comprehend. For being the son of Perpetua, he seems somewhat fair, even giving the League the choice to integrate the current universe with their own, and skip the war and all of the casualties. But at too great a price, they couldn’t do it. Now, in this alternate future, Lois Lane is the warden of a prison on Apokolips, and Superman is dead. That’s quite the bleak situation, if I do say so myself.

Many of my favorite heroes are returning, and it’s the best feeling. First, Plastic Man came back. Now Bart Allen and Conner Kent are both back, and it feels so great. This story is light and quick, with a pace that matches the tempo of Bart Allen’s speech, and the way the team just came back together, like they’re meant to be, is so fun and it makes me smile every single issue.

Pull Box: March 20

Sometimes you just need issues like this. No crazy arcs, no over-arching stories and hints. Just a single issue, with little to no dialog, some incredible art, and a frantic foot chase between the Joker and Batman through Gotham. Brutality reigning supreme as the two try to one-up each other, and take the other down. This was a gorgeous issue that really eased up on the tension in favor of just telling a good, simple story.

These future designs for the Justice League are incredible, with particular focus on Superman and Flash. Even Wonder Woman has a kick-ass future design, and it’s great. In fact, this future is clearly too good to be true. Some insane form of deceit from Mxylptlk to be sure, but how is the more important question here. I absolutely cannot wait for the next issue of this. Batman sees through the veil, not trusting what he’s seeing, and J’onn and Kendra have had thir eyes opened to the truth. But what is the truth?

Naomi is full of some crazy twists and turns, with her small town seeming more and more like a small refugee camp for aliens than anything. Dee the mechanic is a Thanagarian, her parents are both aliens from another world, and what does that make her? Her connection to Superman implies Kryptonian, but that just seems like such a reach. So many mysteries, with such loving and fantastic characters are really making this book great.

After years and years of build-up, it’s finally here! The War of the Realms is upon us, and every God across the realms will be sucked into the largest conflict that Yggdrasil will ever see. Jane Foster is in complete remission, opening the door for her return, and Thor has finally come to terms with the loss of Mjolnir, tossing his last remaining piece into the sun, to return it to the rest of its remains. The Earth’s heroes are ready to fight one hell of a war, and I’m certainly ready to read it.

Pull Box: March 13

Jonathan Kent is most certainly worthy of whatever title of hero he wants up to this point. The hell that Ultraman put him through, and his subsequent escape and survival both show how much he’s grown, and learned to do what’s necessary to stay alive. All while still keeping the strong heart that his parents have nurtured all these years. I’ll miss fun-loving Jonathan Kent, which I never thought I would say about a kid-hero not named Impulse. But teenage Jonathan Kent has proven he’s more than worthy.

We all knew what was coming. It’s been building to it this entire time, with Carter Hall’s previous reincarnations becoming an army of Hawkman to stop the Deathbringers. With that in mind, it was still really cool to see it. This arc has been a great way to retcon Hawkman and modernize him for a new audience. I only hope they keep going, and keep pushing the adventure side of it all. Hawkman as an explorer is far more interesting than Hawkman as a superhero.

This served as a nice refresher for James Jesse, the original Trickster, some details here and there to fit the new narrative of his character. It was clearly meant for newer fans that have come in from the series, but it was a solid issue nonetheless. It established Trickster as a threat to Central City, setting him up for the biggest con of all time as he manipulates The Flash and his many allies, clearly being one step ahead of them all throughout.

The Lords of Order have shown themselves in full, with their true power about to wipe out the entire realm of Myrra. Meanwhile, the previous Doctor Fate has shown himself to be an ally of the Justice League. Unfortunately, the team’s two heavy hitters, Wonder Woman and Zatanna are off on their own dangerous adventure searching for Mordru and Circe, who seems to have her own agenda. She clearly knows something that everyone else doesn’t Perhaps she’s the one behind this? Then there was the off-hand comment about Zatanna’s Father. Is Zatara the true mastermind? So many questions!

Even the Titans have been catapulted into the real world, with two of the most ancient and powerful beings to ever grace the summit of Olympus just hanging out in the Rocky Mountains. Something tells me our furry friends that we’ve been following are a little more than just an audience perspective. Could they be attracting this danger somehow? Something is starting to seem quite off, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it could be. There are just too many factors at play here to really know where this story is heading.

Pull Box: March 6

The ramifications of this issue are massive. Now comes the question… is Doomsday Clock canon? Or just a side-story? Either way, Firestorm was created by the government, as well as Rex Mason, and even Kirk Langstrom, aka Man-Bat. Not to mention the entire Justiec League was defeated by Doctor Manhattan fairly easily. Though they got in some good hits, his abilities just proved too much. Only Ozymandias knows the true secrets behind his abilities, but Batman seems to know more than he lets on, thanks to the journal of Rorschach. This book is moving slowly, but it’s starting to ramp up finally.

It’s been so long since we’ve seen The Question, that just seeing him in this issue elevates it. Couple that with his interrogation of Selina in regards to her leaving Bruce and you have some fantastic tension. Particularly with him getting her to admit she lied about the note. But how did she lie? She did truly believe she would him back, and that the world needs him. So, what’s different? Does this have anything to do with Bane’s massive plan that involves the Bat’s entire Rogue’s gallery?

This was a fantastic, light-hearted issue of Justice League with a strong story at its core, that quickly became more and more serious. The introduction of the Future Superman was perfectly executed, but something seemed off about him. Now, thanks to the shocking end of this issue we know that something was off. Was Mxylptlk messing with him? Was it a trap for Superman all along? Or did someone intervene? How will he escape a trap… an entire galaxy of a trap, made specifically for him?

This was probably the best issue yet of Grant Morrison’s crazy run on Green Lantern. Jordan infiltrating the Blackstars, and choosing the name Blackstar Parallax for his “reborn life” was chill-inducing. Now, Adam Strange is in the mix as DC’s space-faring adventurers slowly start to fill out the pages of this ever-growing story. The earlier issues were a bit ridiculous, but Morrison’s found a groove, now, and it’s firing on all cylinders for this newest arc.

They managed to pack a lot of good stuff in this issue! Not only did we get a heartfelt reunion between Conner Kent and Bart Allen, two heroes that have been sorely missed since the beginning of Rebirth and beyond, but we even learned how Conner got to GemWorld in the first place. Not to mention he has a beard, and a wife and son! Conner has a son! Does that make Superman and Lex a Grandfather of sorts? I would love to see the look on Clark’s face when he learns that Conner has a family. He’ll most certainly be proud.

Pull Box: February 27

This entire time, this arc that has been an insane roller coaster of recollection and remembrance for Bruce’s upbringing and road to Batman… was a simulation. Created by Bruce to kill himself, every year on his birthday, he uses it to hone his skills and evolve. Getting better each and every year. That’s a level of dedication that I didn’t think Batman was capable of, but yet again he has shown why he’s the baddest dude in the DC Universe. The ending, with Batman’s goal of Absolute Zero becoming known gave me goosebumps, and the Epilogue was charming. Fantastic end to a fantastic arc.

This was such an incredibly masterful setup for the future of the DC Universe. So many of DC’s biggest stories have centered around the relationship between the Batman and The Flash, because the chemistry there is so real that they just make a great team. With the events of Heroes in Crisis becoming a focal point, as that mystery deepens and the big event for the year starts to unfold, The Year of the Villain, expect things to start to ramp up with mysteries and twists all over the place.

So, first off, all this time Amanda Waller has known the identity of Superman. That’s quite a crazy thing to think of, but she does understand his importance, as well as just how powerful he is. Not to mention calling down the wrath of the Justice League isn’t sometime she would like to do. But the threat of Leviathan, which seems to grow each and every week has forced her hand. Now, Sam Lam is possibly dead, just days after learning the truth about Superman and possibly re-thinking his stance. Attack after attack is happening, and things are getting pretty crazy, now.

Sneaky sneaky Honor Guest, manipulating Talia and playing along with her charade. It’s a clever plan, but she needs to make sure she plays it just right. Talia is wildly intelligent, and twice as dangerous. Add on the tech that her family discovered in the backyard, what looks like a laser shield of sorts and you have quite a predicament on her hands. The closer they get to the truth, the more danger they’ll be in with Leviathan as they become more and more of a threat across the DC Universe proper.

The pace of this issue seemed incredibly slow, but it was still yet another fun throwback to the days of comic books old. Mr. Terrific discovering his wife alive on another Earth, with the exact same circumstances as himself was quite the lucky break. I just hope that this ends up being a bit of a happy ending for the team. With that being said, I’m ready for the team to move on from Doc Dread and his Dreadfuls. That villain seems to have made his mark, and I would love for the team to take on some new threats.

This book really pulls no punches. Bringing out the darkest and dirtiest the world has to offer to show how truly terrible that future could have been. Thankfully, the Freedom Fighters seem like a competent team, prepared for many contingencies when it comes to their enemy. The evil German Plastic Man is still the most horrifying thing ever, and he just seems to get more and more creepy. I can only imagine how creepy he’ll be when he starts fighting again.

It was pretty obvious that King Kid had some tricks up his sleeve, but I wasn’t exactly exepcting it all to rush to the surface as soon as he saw them as Champions, turning into adults. The Seven Lands are of course still mysterious, but it seems we’re going to learn more about them pretty quickly given the next issue. I honestly wish we would have seen more on Mr. Mind and Doctor Sivana in this issue, though, as that cliffhanger last month was fantastic.

Doom’s trick was finally revealed… at least part of it. He plans to harness the power of Galactus as an endless energy source. That’s a bit old school of an idea for a villain like Doom to concoct, leading me to believe there’s a little more at play here. The confusion that Reed had on his face when Victor revealed the “Good Galactus” and Johnny and Ben backed him up was pretty priceless. I would certainly like more moments like that in upcoming issues of this Fantastic Four revival.

A slow-paced, emotional issue based around the caveman Gnarkk and Harley Quinn, finally give us a better idea of what happened here. Harley broke into Sanctuary to help Poison Ivy, and get help from Ivy. They’re friends, and lovers, that’s what they do. Meanwhile, Booster Gold, who has been on a considerable decline in the last two years, has finally snapped, and laid waste to everyone there. But, there’s still the mystery as to why this Wally was older than he should have been. Still, there are questions unanswered.

I’m starting to get fairly bored with this story, as it’s pretty convoluted and a bit ridiculous. Even for comic books. But, seeing them address the events of Justice League, with the Source Wall being torn down, and all of the New Gods being killed was certainly worth it. Darkseid was protected in the Ghost Sector, but how much longer can he keep the danger away?

That lawsuit business sure seemed to last a long time, didn’t it? That strangeness aside, it makes perfect sense and reassures the character of Veronica Cale that through all of this, all she wants is her daughter back. She spent years attempting to save her daughter, and when she finally does, she has to leave her behind in Themyscira. Now, with Themyscira destroyed through the paradox of Ares’ death, she’s lost, alongside the other inhabitants of the Amazon homeland. With the help of Aphrodite, Diana starts a new quest, and a fascinating new arc that could have some big repercussions in the future.

Pull Box: February 20

Gotham Girl’s story is so tragic, simply because of how much her and her brother have been used, abused, and tossed aside like trash. Left to suffer and fizzle out from their powers, or become corrupted infinitely by them. All she wants is her brother back, and to be a hero alongside them. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, she’s still a child and doesn’t see the cost that being a hero really holds. Who’s manipulating her is the real question, but all signs point to Bane as we continue down the rabbit hole of Tom King’s 100-issue arc.

I wasn’t expecting Brainiac and Lex Luthor to essentially be joined on a spiritual level to unleash Perpetua on the universe. I was expecting the usual villain betrayal, but that’s not exactly what Scott Snyder is about is it? This incredible retcon of the past of Lionel Luthor and his working with Vandal Savage before having his memories erased is so flawless that it fits like a puzzle piece in a blank space that we never knew we needed. It effortlessly gives Lex Luthor a grandiose history that takes him from hyper-intelligent mastermind, to destined villain. Fantastic.

Pull Box: February 13

That ending was the most ridiculous, comic book thing I have ever seen and was not something I ever expected. This arc has been long and twisting, recalling many of the most important people throughout the life and career of Bruce Wayne and Batman. It’s been a perfect way to explore the past of Detective Comics, the book that started it at all as we approach the 1,000th issue. But to ask if I ever saw the evil kid-Bruce thing coming? No, that one was a little far out of left field for me. But kudos to the creative team here for sticking to their guns to create a memorable, and original story.

When the Deathbringers arrived, I expected them to just be those three giant robots. Then thousands of Hawkmen flew out and started destroying London, and the stakes suddenly seemed exceptionally high in the book. It’s obvious that Xanadu is going to figure out how to bring all of Carter Hall’s past lives back, including Ktar, the leader of the Deathbringers, who will prove indispensable in defeating them for the final time. My only wonder if where Hawkman will go after this? I truly hope that it stays an adventure book in the vein of Indiana Jones. That’s where he seems most comfortable.

Doctor Fate has gone sufficiently crazy, and become the evil threat to all of reality that he has always been set up to be. Who are these mysterious Lords of Order that he seems to have aligned himself with? We’ll find out soon, I’m sure. But meanwhile, the magical community is in pieces, with the remaining refugees thinking they had escaped to a separate dimension only to find out the worse had been yet to arrive. The Otherkind are a terrifying villain, but to find out that they’re mere pawns for a larger game is insane. Lastly, kudos to Man-Bat for scientifically working out magic to help save the day in a way, with the mysterious boy from earlier in the series, who seems like he will prove invaluable in the fight.

Jonathan Kent had one hell of an adventure, that’s for sure. Being ripped through a black hole to encounter the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3… as an eleven year old? Not high on the list of things I would enjoy doing. But, the well-timed arrival of Mongul, just so Superman had someone to take his frustrations out on was perfect. Mongul hasn’t truly been a threat in quite some time, particularly against a powered-up, frustrated Clark Kent. Superman’s frustration over missing his son growing up, especially someone who is so family-first the way he was raised. That has to be nearly impossible to deal with as a parent.

An issue that focuses on the plight of Odin, just a few short months before the War of the Realms begins, was one of the most necessary things to have. While he’s completely unable to show it, because of his misplaced pride and narcicissm, Odin truly loves his children, and regrets the way fate has treated him and his family. Despite all of that regret, he’s unable to do anything to fix it, and the internal struggle that rages on inside him is the focus here, rightfully so. Another deeply personal issue of Thor, moments before the biggest event Marvel has had in years, begins. Well played.

Is it possible that Gotham Girl was behind the attacks on Sanctuary? The attack that took the life of Wally West? Or at least a Wally West. We’re still unsure how that twist works, to be honest. It’s not likely that Claire is behind that attack, as we’ll certainly learn the perpetrator in the pages of Heroes in Crisis. But, this new development is certainly interesting. The chemistry between Batman and Flash is some of the best in comics because of how different they are as heroes, yet just how similar they are as people.

Pull Box: February 6

Justice League has consistently been the best written comic since its debut, and all this issue did was set it further apart from the rest of the pack, with yet another fantastic retcon on the history of the Martian Manhunter. J’onn J’onnz is one of the bigger mysteries still left in the DC Universe, as his origin is still so simplistic and yet to be explored fully. The inclusion of Lex Luthor as a childhood friend with latent psychic abilities is certainly an interesting, and also sets the stage for Lex to turn his back on the Legion of Doom that he created as his elaborate plan begins to spin wildly out of control.

When Batman and Flash crossover, some of the best stories seem to happen organically, and this is certainly no different. Calling back to Batman’s very first Rebirth story, Gotham Girl has returned and she’s randomly attacking places that will bring various heroes into the fold. Particularly, Batman and The Flash. What she plans to do with them is still a mystery, but we know she’s attempting to revive her Brother, who seems to be hooked up to Bane’s Venom. Another clue as to who could be behind all of this?

A long, in-depth read about the time when Clark Kent first arrived in Metropolis. There have been numerous re-tellings of this same story, over and over again, and all of them are almost the same, but just like every other origin being re-told in comic book form, it just never gets old, and I’ll never pin-point why that is. While this book is certainly not required reading, it’s worth the time to check out if you’re a fan of Superman.

I don’t think I’ll ever get past how perfectly suited for the Green Lantern Grant Morrison’s writing is. It’s so bizarre, and the characters he concocts are beyond belief, as many alien species should be. It’s just confusing and bizarre enough to feel alien while you’re reading it, but things slowly pull themselves back together each and every time. While I thought that Morrison’s Lantern would be more of a mini-series, these smaller arcs support a longer run than expected, and I’m certainly ready for that.

Little by little, DC is exploring the annals and history of Darkseid and Apokolips more and more. We’re learning of its past, and the events leading up to Darkseid’s initial rise to power, while exploring his dynamics with the right hands that have ensured he stay at the top. Granny Goodness and her Female Furis have always been one of the more interesting side characters for the New Gods, and the exploration here was great. With that said, it’s a shame that sexism exists on a desolate planet like Apokolips, as well, with the Furies unknowingly taking part in a show of “female grace” for the detestable villains. I hope that they get what’s coming to them in this series, because it will be satisfying.

This moved at the strangest pace, and seems like it’s going to continue that way for a while. Despite having an all-star lineup of young heroes, they’re just sort of… coming together. By fate, or destiny perhaps, but it’s been this random series of events, bringing this random group of heroes together, and it seems weird and difficult to read in some strange way. Additionally, I love Teen Lantern, and really missed Impulse not being in this issue, as he is an absurd amount of fun in all of the books he is in. I hope he gets a solo book, soon.

Pull Box: January 30

Lois Lane telling her Father, Sam Lane, one of Superman’s biggest opponents since his introduction about his secret identity is insane. I’m sure she wasn’t expecting it to go down that way, but it did, and she’ll eventually have to deal with the repercussions. The real crazy thing in this issue is the mysterious blue explosions wiping out groups of heroes and villains alike. The most interesting thing is that these explosions look near-perpetrated by the same energy as Dr. Manhattan. Has Leviathan learned something? Man, so many crazy mysteries!

The lead-up to the Flash Annual, and the climax of the Force Quest, we now know the truth. Barry was never meant to work with the other Force users. They have always been destined to clash, which explains why they just seem to naturally disagree in so many different ways. Not to mention, Hunter Zolomon has already escaped from Hypertime, and revealed to be the murderer behind Gorilla City. Lots of questions answered in this issue!

A heartbreaking issue, capped off by the Flash Family finally dealing with the sudden loss of Wally West at Sanctuary. It happened months ago, but with The Flash off on his Force Quest, there was never any chance for them to address it, but now it’s finally happened. But with the loss of one speedster, comes the arrival of another, as Bart Allen, aka Impulse has escaped the Speed Force! The best speedster, not seen in years has finally returned, and I could not be more excited.

Holy crap. It all comes down to this. After being weakened by the events of Dark Knights: Metal, the Source Wall has been destroyed, and the creator of the Multiverse, and mother of The Monitor and Anti-Monitor, Perpetua, has been released. We’re rocketing toward one of the biggest comic book events in history, as decades of stories converge onto this single point, and it’s beautiful.

Finally! The Secret Origin of The Silencer! This was one of the most important things that we still needed for Honor Guest’s character arc, and now that we have it, I can’t say I’m disappointed. Honor is a metahuman that was stolen from the League by Talia to see her own ambitions through. Used from the very beginning. Now as Talia attempts to wipe her family’s memory from existence, she thinks she the Silencer under control… I’m not no sure.

The escape act with Miracle Man was awesome, and yet another highlight in this incredible arc leading up to the 1,000th issue of Detective Comics. Given the unique characteristics of the creature that’s been chasing Batman, my guess was Clayface in a beautiful and tragic twist of character that would use the recent history of Detective Comics against it, but with Batman attacking Hugo Strange, it would seem maybe I wasn’t quite accurate. It’s still very possible, though. We’ll find out as we approach the penultimate issue.

A massive piece of the puzzle is now in our possession. Wally West at Sanctuary is too old to be the Wally West we know. That still seems like quite a mystery, but it strangely makes sense in a way that only comic books can. Ted Kord, aka Blue Beetle, trusts Booster Gold, and Batgirl trusts Harley Quinn. Both have collided, but now where do they go from here? This was a beautiful issue, using the speech by Superman as its backbone, and it was gut-wrenching, and real, and everything that comics have really never been, but always needed to be. Absolutely beautiful.

Darkseid being in the Ghost Sector at the time saved him from the inevitable as the New Gods were all obliterated by Perpetua, as well as Apokolips and New Genesis. But, Darkseid is… ever the planner, as he hopes to reshape the planet in the Ghost Sector into a new, even more powerful Apokolips to use as a crazy war machine. Insanely enough, the Coluans knew that, and bottled all those planets to stop Darkseid! That’s some insanely good retconning.

This was exactly what it needed to be, and it was great. A fun anthology of short stories that spotlight the ups and downs of love and its many nuances. The Superman story especially was fantastic, telling yet another story about how Clark Kent is the hero, and Superman is the mask. My only issue with this was the way they drew Hawkgirl in her Galentine’s Day story, which was not accurate, of course. Hopefully someone catches that next time.

Plastic Man’s son has every right to be mad at him, but I really would have loved to hear more about his explanation for being stuck as an egg. Rex Mason is Metamorpho again, and it seems that every issue Doc Dread is allowed to be a villain, he gets more villainous. Big surprise there, but it’s nice to not have him being some comical throwback to the inept villains of old. Now The Terrifics are getting back together, and my favorite Super-Team is whole again!

This was a much-needed, fun and lighthearted issue that helped introduce some new characters, with a fresh love story of mythological creatures at its heart. It also introduced a random new human ally for Diana, and even set up the story for the future with Veronica Cale, the largest antagonist for Wonder Woman since Rebirth began, in possession of one of the apparently many Gods that have landed on Earth.

Pull Box: January 23

The secret is out! The last several issues of Batman have all been a dream. An induced nightmare as Batman is strapped to a machine that’s pumping Scarecrow gas into his system non-stop in an attempt to drive him insane. In a play to keep his mind in one piece, Batman’s psych created a version of Constantine to help guide him along, but it hasn’t exactly worked the way he hoped. Now the question is where did this start? Was it Thomas Wayne? Before that? After? Interesting questions to ponder until the next issue.

This issue was even better than the first, with great action sequences and a fantastic way of establishing the new versions of these classic characters. On top of that, the idea of Uncle Sam being some extradimensional entity that’s fueled by the American Dream is so ridiculous that it just works. It’s such a “comic” idea that it fits so perfectly in this setting, and I’m intensely interested to see where it goes. Lastly, that evil German Plastic Man is the most horrifying villain I have seen in ages.

It’s all coming together. Shayera was using the Absorbascon to create a false Thanagar-Prime to keep the reputation of strength that Thanagar has kept for generations intact. But she knows it was wrong, and now looks to rebuild. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onnz is the key the Perpetua and her army, as he was abducted as a child by Humans from the far-flung future in an attempt to make their DNA whole. Perhaps Starman isn’t who he says he is, and he’s the result of that experiment? Lastly, Kendra knows what the secret on her wings is, now. A map to an alternate dimension of God-like beings. Man, this is intense!

This is going to be quite an interesting book. I can already tell. This first issue sucked me in with its incredible artwork, and relatable characters. Then it hooked me with that cliffhanger ending. What’s special about Naomi? She has an obsession with Superman, and feels close to him as they’re both adopted. Now, she finds out that… maybe she is? But how? What’s different? I wish this was a graphic novel so I could read it all, right now!

I’m glad that they’re making the personal stories, like the arrival of Billy Batson’s mysterious biological Father, on the backburner here. Because the Marvel Family exploring the various magical lands created by the Council is way more interesting. Theme parks are always ominous when they’re magical, and now there’s a creepy clown, and even the ruler of the “Funlands” claiming that he’s a member of the Family. The last Champion. Maybe he abandoned his post to stay in Funlands? We’ll get answers soon, as lead-up to the movie later this year continues.

Pull Box: January 16

A new villain! Or is she a hero? Victorious and her purpose is still up in the air, but she is most certainly a tool for one of Doctor Doom’s many schemes. This one saw her act as a lure for Galactus, most likely as some sort of display of power for Latveria, though he doesn’t exactly need it. It’s nice to see the team back in action together, though. It’s also much appreciated that they didn’t forget the history between Franklin Richards and Galactus, one of my favorite pairings from Marvel in many years.

This lead-up to Detective Comics #1000 is so fascinating. It’s such a strange mystery, with all of Batman’s past on display. His origin, being picked apart by a ruthless creature that knows his story as well as he, himself, knows it. It’s still unclear, but if I had to wager a guess, this is most likely a returning Clayface, who vanished to keep Cassandra safe after he was manipulated and turned into a weapon against Gotham City. Perhaps he blames Batman for all that’s happened to him? We’ll find out soon enough.

The Deathbringers have returned. But that’s the least important thing that happened this issue. Carter Hall slipped through time to a Krypton on the brink of destruction, meeting his past self, Catar-Ol, as he witnesses the death of his world. The realizations about Kal-El and Kara, and their past interactions with each other were beautiful in a way, connecting those characters in a way that feels fresh and new. One of the best things this book has done from the start is manipulate the past of the DC Universe in such effortless ways, and it’s fantastic.

That slight detour that Wonder Woman’s arc took us on has diverted back to the Otherkind, and it immediately picked up. The Otherkind are invading Earth and its realms at an alarming rate, taking root in the tales and whispered stories of the Magical World. Unknowingly, Man-Bat is helping spread the word, as he’s the odd man out in all of this. The rookie to the world of demons and evil… naive to its many nuances. The addition of S.H.A.D.E. and the numerous magical heroes and villains across the DC Universe is adding so much flavor to these books, and I love it.

As per usual, no one listened to Superman when the time was right, and now they’re all just realizing that, yes, Jor-El is a crazy person who has manipulated things for years in his own favor. I’m honestly a little sad about the Jonathan Kent time-skip thing because he was actually an endearing kid-hero, who was fun to read and actually believable in his wonder and amazement at everything. Hopefully the new Jonathan, albeit older and more serious is still a good read.

This was considerably better than the first issue, but only slightly. It took forever to get moving, and something about the story just doesn’t sit right with me. It feels off, and uninteresting for a Batman story. Even with The Batman Who Laughs, and The Grim Knight, two interesting parallel versions of Batman at its disposal, it uses them sparingly, going for spectacle and attempts at mystery. I’ll give it one more issue to wow me, and we’ll see what happens.

Gemini finally makes their move, manipulating Psych, who was manipulating Flash for Gemini. It sounds way more confusing than it really was. It’s interesting how these new Force Users are so adept at using their powers. They’re skilled in the way that Flash is skilled with the Speed Force, as if they’re meant to have these powers, and they’ve finally found their proper host. Now, in the next issue, it looks like we’ll get a full breakdown of the history of speed force, and these new forces themselves. That could change Flash comics forever, if it’s done well enough.

A bit of an anticlimactic ending to an otherwise fantastic arc, this did exactly what it needed to do. It put Ares down, while also putting him on a quest to find Athena and the other Gods, who seem to be scattered to the winds. Aphrodite is now with Diana, who seems lost in all the confusion of the Greek Pantheon ascending to the Earthly plain once again. I think that soon enough we’ll be heading back to Themyscira. With the Gods in the winds, perhaps the whole world will be heading to Themyscira soon enough?

Pull Box: January 9

The War of the Realms is finally on its way, and we’re getting a peek behind the curtain of the unsung heroes of War that gather information, and spy on enemies such as Malekith. The growth of Roz Solomon as a hero, and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (now Agent of Wakanda) has been one of the bigger character pieces throughout the last several years of Thor, and arguably one of its biggest successes. The tragedy that follows her drives her now, and has really helped her flourish into a greater role behind the scenes.

Are we finally gaining traction on the return of the previous universes across the DC Multiverse?! They just said that “this universe is not the first!” That could mean so many things, but the constant restoration of the DC status quo cannot be ignored in this case. Mystery on top of mystery abound here as the entire universe is united against the Justice League for the destruction of the Source Wall. Thanks, Batman.

That was a wildly interesting issue. Though, when Tom King and Mitch Gerads are together, nothing but the weirdest stories are in order, and it’s great. With only one page of spoken dialogue, we’re in Batman’s head as he awakens in what is most certainly some sort of nightmare. The good thing? We’re finally back on track somewhat with Flashpoint Batman as Bruce finally remembers what’s happening. But what made him forget? This is an intense story with so many crazy mysteries in play.

I figured that the Green Lantern vs. God thing would be a ploy, but if anyone would be willing to go there, it would be Grant Morrison. Unfortunately, it was a ploy for a planet eater to trick the Earth into complacency while he fattened up the planet and its population to eventually consume it. Clever. This version of Hal Jordan is much more of a “Space Cop” than any other instances, being more grizzled and utilizing more aggressive tactics. Even going so far as to kill the slave trader, though he certainly deserved it.

This moved so quickly, and in such insane fashion that it was hard to really pull it all together. But being so quick moving, and being a thing that involved Impulse in any capacity, made it a hell of a lot of fun. The quick introduction to Young Justice, and the re-emergence of several younger characters for no apparent reason was a bit strange, but in the world of comics, anything is truly possible. Hopefully Bendis is able to slow that pace down just a bit, though.

Pull Box: January 2

NEWCOMICS

AC
Ever since its reveal in The Silencer, Leviathan has been revealed to be pulling the strings in the darkest parts of the DC Universe for years. Operating in shadows that the heroes didn’t even know existed, and manipulating weaknesses in their abilities and personalities for years. Now, they’re slowly starting to take control over several books, and becoming a legitimate threat to the world without anyone being any wiser. A slow burn villain is most certainly the best one, and with Red Cloud working with Leviathan, things should get much more interesting.
DC
The countdown to Detective Comics #1000 has been absolutely phenomenal. A personal story that recalls the well-known origin of Batman in unique ways, as each and every person that Batman loves is picked apart, one by one. Pushing him further and further to the depths of his soul to grapple with his own humanity and past. This is storytelling at its best, and I know it should culminate into one hell of a thousandth issue.
HC
This is such a unique and fantastic story. A murder mystery with a real message at its heart, that humanizes DC’s heroes in a way that they have never really explored. The mental health and psychological issues that comes with being a hero, and dealing with the loss and failure, and much more. It’s dramatic, with a genuine conflict that could legitimately affect the DC Universe moving forward. Real stakes for the heroes. It’s a wonderful change of pace.
FL
This was a strangely paced issue. Flash and Fuerza defeated the Sage Force demons, and stopped Cauldron in Corto Maltese, meanwhile Commander Cold is making himself more comfortable in Central City, and their cases are starting to crossover with each other. It’s obvious that Trickster is behind the Sage Force weapon, but how does he know how to manipulate it? That’s definitely the big question. JLO
There are a lot of mysteries at play here, and I’m starting to get a little worried that they may not pull together in the most cohesive way. At the very least, we know now that Darkseid is most certainly playing at something, finding Blackfire, Starfire’s Sister, in the ruins of Tamarand with a plan to manipulate the troubled worlds of the Ghost Sector. That should at least make this series more interesting.
SIL
I really wasn’t expecting this turn of events, as Leviathan continues to one-up every single hero and villain across the DC Universe with a skilled manipulation that comics hasn’t seen in ages. It’s incredible. But, now I wonder… Did she kill honor? Are there plans to revive her with the Lazarus Pit? What is Talia’s goal, right now? Lots of questions, and the more Leviathan stretches into other books, the more excited I get for each issue of The Silencer.WW
A solid, albeit slightly uneventful issue for Wonder Woman. Of course the children that she rescued belonged to the Prime Minister, naturally drawing her to him. Aphrodite in the fray throws quite a few things into question, and I still say it’s the result of the Otherkind from Justice League Dark destroying the home of the Gods. Though, it could be something more.
TER
The Terrifics even get their own villain team! And it’s a crazy multiversal team! That’s awesome. Of course, the team would be miserable without each other at this point. The only friends they had were each other… now they’re forced to confront that fact. The Plastic Man interaction was certainly the most interesting, with Eel’s son, Luke, being introduced to the series, and his plastic abilities. I wonder if that will come into play in the near future?

Pull Box: December 19

NEWCOMICS

BM
A surprising callback to an older issue on Tom King’s run, this culminated in a way I wasn’t expecting. It started out usual enough, and quickly became something else, with small twists here and there. How they’ll bring this all back around is the question. On top of that, this break from the main story, right as Thomas Wayne appears in the Batcave? Come on! The next issue cannot get here fast enough.
FF
A timely reboot for a team that is meant to stand in for America itself, the Freedom Fighters are most certainly a direct response to the uptick in Neo-Nazi and fear-mongering movements across the world. While it won’t have a big impact, it shows strong resolve of DC Comics to release this book and stand for something. On top of that, it already seem like it’s going to be a fitting continuation with new takes on classic characters, and I am all for that.
JL
Oh man, that was amazing! Shayera and Katar Hol are alive?! But, is it really them? What secrets are they holding in regards to the Totality, and what is their plan with the Martian Keep? And, how does Starman fit into all of this? He seems linked to the Multiverse on several levels, with his overwhelming power linked to the source wall itself. So many questions! Every time we get answers, more questions come together. It’s brilliant.
THOR
After years of build-up, the slowest burn I have ever seen in an event, The War of the Realms is finally on its way. The Avengers are slowly getting roped into it all, and Thor has become more ruthless on his search for answers, and a strategic advantage against Malekith, the mastermind of the war itself. With the Angels defeated, and Angela now in the fray, things have evened up a bit, but they are still several steps behind.
MMPR
While Lord Drakkon was probably one of the best overall villains in Power Rangers history, there is certainly something unnerving about Praetor. His ability to get into the heads, and invade the minds of the Rangers is something new to them, and should prove to be quite the problem in the coming issues. The realization that the Solarix is a piece of the Morphin Grid was a fascinating piece of writing, though. As if the Grid could potentially be tangible, in some corner of the Universe. Now, that could be fun to explore.